Archive for November 9th, 2009

Assault on Weapons: The Campaign to Eliminate Your Guns — Alan Gottlieb

Monday, November 9th, 2009

This book reveals the history of the gun prohibition movement, a politically-motivated elitist effort built on myths, distortions and lies. The insidious gun ban movement is full of self-appointed “progressive” social engineers and Utopian idealists. Read how these gun banners-who use incremental disarmament of American citizens through legislation, litigation and cultural bigotry-have become a serious threat to liberty and personal safety.

The Unhealthy Public Option — Steve Chapman

Monday, November 9th, 2009

If Medicare were a bank, federal regulators would be closing its doors, selling its operations, and sacking its managers. Thanks to soaring costs, the program is fast running out of money-even though it pays such low fees that many doctors refuse to take Medicare patients. Meanwhile, Medicare fraud costs taxpayers some $60 billion a year, according to a report by CBS’s 60 Minutes. That’s our experience with government-run health insurance for the elderly, and congressional leaders now propose offering it to everyone else.

The Tragedy of Health Insurance — Ronald Bailey

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Health insurers are about to experience public sector discipline with a vengeance. The government-run public insurance option will eventually out-compete private health insurers by means of the simple expedient of Medicare-style price controls on physicians and hospitals. Under the guise of advocating choice and competition, the Obama administration and congressional Democrats are, in reality, pushing the country inevitably toward a single payer government health insurance scheme. The result will be rationed patient care and drastically slowed medical innovation.

New Health Care House Bill Has Plenty of Taxes — Rea S. Hederman

Monday, November 9th, 2009

The new House health care bill has not been improved over the last few months. It still contains painful tax increases that will affect more and more Americans every year. Because the surtax applies to adjusted gross income, the effective marginal tax rates of successful business owners will skyrocket. The surtax, combined with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, will result in some individuals having their effective tax rate increase by one-third. These tax increases will slow America’s recovery from the current recession.

The Wrong Medicare Advantage Reform: Cutting Benefits, Limiting Choices, and Increasing Costs — James C. Capretta

Monday, November 9th, 2009

The health care bills currently under active consideration in Congress would substantially modify the Medicare Advantage program, imposing deep benefit cuts to partially offset new non-Medicare entitlement spending while reducing health plan choices for seniors and bending the cost curve in the wrong direction. Reform should mean more patient choice and health plan accountability. But these current proposals would lead in the opposite direction-toward a system of less choice, less accountability, and eventually lower-quality health care at higher costs.

Medicaid Funding of Abortion: Setting the Record Straight — Dennis G. Smith

Monday, November 9th, 2009

There is apparently confusion regarding how the federal government enforces the Hyde Amendment prohibition on federal funding of abortion. Such confusion could result in failure to enact appropriate safeguards against government funding of abortions in the overall health care legislation currently under consideration. Unless a specific prohibition on abortion funding-with strong enforcement and accountability-is contained in the final bill that is signed by the President, the government will end up funding the procedure.

Federalization of Medicaid: Health Reform Bill Would Reduce State Authority — Dennis G. Smith

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Medicaid is designed to be a partnership between the states and the federal government. But under the health bill introduced last week by Speaker Pelosi, the ability of states to run their programs to reflect state variations and preferences would be substantially diminished. Policy decisions would be removed from the elected representatives at the state level and placed in the hands of the federal bureaucracy.

Health Care Reform and the Threat to the Dollar — J.D. Foster

Monday, November 9th, 2009

The U.S. dollar is falling steadily against the Euro and many other major currencies. If this trend continues, the repercussions for the U.S. economy would be significant: higher inflation, higher interest rates, and a lower standard of living. It could also lead to the rapid dethroning of the dollar as the world’s primary reserve currency. Perhaps most worrisome, the slide in the dollar risks becoming a rout that could trigger another global financial crisis.

Guide to National Health Care Reform Proposals — Commonwealth Foundation

Monday, November 9th, 2009

President Obama has pushed national health care reform, making it a priority. While there is no official “Obama plan,” the leading proposals in Congress have several common themes. Unfortunately, instead of learning from the mistakes of state-based health care reform, these proposals repeat them.

The Next Founders: Voices of Democracy in the Middle East — Joshua Muravchik

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Before September 11, 2001, Americans did not think much about freedom or democracy in the Middle East. Now, as we are entangled in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Mid-East’s political and social quandaries lie at the very core of our foreign policy objectives. And yet, after years of blood and fortune spent on the democratization of the Middle East, the most identifiable personalities in the region are notorious terrorists, backwards autocrats, and fanatical preachers. As this book demonstrates, there are in fact also heroic democrats and liberals in these lands of anti-democratic fanaticism, and the fight they are fighting is also our fight.

Secretary Clinton’s Visit to Pakistan: Into the Crucible — Lisa Curtis

Monday, November 9th, 2009

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Pakistan comes as the country faces a wave of terrorist attacks and a surge in anti-American sentiment fueled by sensitive language contained in recently enacted U.S. aid legislation for Pakistan. In the wake of a major bombing that killed over 100 in the northwest city of Peshawar on the day of her arrival, Clinton sought to convey a message of support for Pakistan as it battles extremists while also signaling that U.S. interests in the country stretch beyond the fight against terrorism.

Russia’s Economic Crisis and U.S.-Russia Relations: Troubled Times Ahead — The Heritage Foundation

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Russia’s revenues from oil and natural gas are enabling its aggressive and often anti-Western foreign policy. Russia’s falling economic performance has toned down Russia’s rhetoric, but has not drastically changed Russia’s foreign policy narrative, which remains decidedly anti-status quo and implicitly anti-American. The U.S. needs to devise incentives for steps that facilitate Russia’s integration into global markets, but deny benefits if Russia continues to pursue anti-American policies or refuses to enact the needed changes.

Not a Good Start: The Future of Arms Control — The Heritage Foundation

Monday, November 9th, 2009

While President Obama has made overt efforts to “reset” bilateral relations with Moscow, Russian leaders continue to call the U.S. their “principal adversary.” Moscow publicly applauds U.S. disarmament and arms control efforts, while they continue a strong and abiding commitment to nuclear weapons.

Honduran Handshake: U.S. Policy Still Needs to Be Better — The Heritage Foundation

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Although hungry for a foreign policy win, the Obama Administration has not shown strong hemispheric leadership regarding Honduras. The October accord requires implementation by the Hondurans, good behavior by Zelaya, and a quick infusion of international support for the elections. It requires further hands-on U.S. diplomacy-not pre-June 28 complacency-to make sure Zelaya does not derail the electoral process and steal Honduras from under the eyes of the Obama Administration.

School Choice in America 2009: What It Means for Children’s Futures — Lindsey Burke, The Heritage Foundation

Monday, November 9th, 2009

What does school choice mean for American’s daily lives? It means that more and more parents are able to send their children to safer, better schools. It means that students need not remain trapped in failing and dangerous schools-though too many students still are. Congress, as well as state and local policymakers, must enact policies that give all American children the opportunity to learn and achieve. This report details the latest school-choice facts and figures for the 2009-2010 school year.

Shortchanging Our Kids: How Poor Teacher Quality & Failed Government Policies Harm Students — Brooke Dollens, Terry Texas Public Policy Foundation

Monday, November 9th, 2009

The U.S. k-12 education system is struggling under the enormous weight of the public school monopoly, poor teacher quality, and failed government policies. Expensive per student costs, stagnant test scores, high dropout rates, growing bureaucracies, low teacher morale, a shortage of good teachers, stagnant student achievement, and grade inflation all afflict American public schools. Taxpayers and their children pay the price for these failed education policies.

Vikings in Greece: Kleptocratic Interest Groups in a Closed, Rent-Seeking Economy — Cato Institute

Monday, November 9th, 2009

This article begins with a brief description of the Greek economy. It identifies both the causes of the recent strong growth performance and the reasons why, despite that performance, the competitiveness of the Greek economy remains so low-namely, extensive and low-quality regulation of markets, high administrative costs, a business environment that is not favorable, and weak institutions and widespread corruption.

Peter Bauer and the Failure of Foreign Aid — Andrei Shleifer

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Peter Bauer is perhaps best known as a persistent and articulate critic of foreign aid. At least since 1972, he saw it as not only failing to speed up, but actually hurting economic development. He defined foreign aid as “a transfer of resources from the taxpayer of a donor country to the government of a recipient country.” Needless to say, this did not endear him to the aid establishment, though reality has shown his arguments to be correct.

What Can Aid Do? — Cato Institute

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Solving the economic problem determines whether a country’s economy develops. It is strange, then, that professional economists have had trouble distinguishing the positive relationship between inputs and outputs from solving the economic problem when it comes to evaluating foreign aid. This article makes such a distinction, and in doing so clarifies what aid can and cannot do.

What Is Prosperity and How Do We Measure It? — Roger Bate

Monday, November 9th, 2009

A year ago, French president Nicolas Sarkozy created the Commission on the Measurement of Economic and Social Progress. Sarkozy believes that economic growth, as measured by GDP, is not a sufficient measurement of our well-being. He has a point. While GDP encompasses myriad economic variables-broadly representing a nation’s income and, hence, economic progress over time-it fails to capture important ingredients of prosperity, such as health, personal freedom, and security. The Sarkozy commission has issued its first report, but it nevertheless fails in some crucial respects.